I just finished one of the most enjoyable and unusual projects: designing and painting the images for a retro puppet theater. When Brian and Hanson of Puppet in the Pantry first contacted me and told me about their vision of a puppet theater with a vintage, sideshow feel I was very excited. We bonded immediately on our love of vintage carnival, circus and boardwalk ephemera and also our shared dog lover-mania. The first thing we did was decide to put their dog Daisy and my dog Bingo's portraits dressed as clowns on the antique doors for the front. The space was tall and narrow so I designed a scroll pattern to frame the portraits and painted it in gold metallic. We used this gold ornamentation on the other pieces to tie it all together.
They have a carpenter working with them who created a wooden die cut for the front of the theater. Brian and Hanson sell vintage toys and wanted me to add some toy soldiers and since Brian used to be a Broadway dancer he wanted a comedy and tragedy mask as well. The basic shape of the curtains and footlights were already die cut so I came up with some dramatic drapery to give it depth.
For the sides of the theater they wanted to use my Mr. Peanut and Mr. Softee portraits as old theater posters. I gave the portraits yellowed, ragged edges and faded them a bit in Photoshop to age them. Then added in old fashioned hand shaped arrows pointing to the Stage Door and the Ticket Booth.
As soon as the carpenter puts it all together I will add some photos of the finished theater. This was truly the best kind of project: not only did I get to be creative and have fun but I also made 2 new friends in the bargain!